Habitual Offender charge in judge’s hands
By Dave Pearce.
Once the trial of Derrick Demarco Armstead finally got underway this week, it didn’t take a jury of eight women and four men very long to find the man guilty of attempted murder, aggravated battery, and battery with a deadly weapon. The trial had been postponed because of a technicality about six weeks ago.
Armstead was arrested on July 29, 2013, as the result of altercations at Twin Lakes Mobile Home Park. Armstead was facing the above charges as well as the charge of being an Habitual Offender. According to Posey County Deputy Prosecutor Jonathan Parkhurst, the jury convicted Armstead of all the charges against him and the Habitual Offender charge was taken under advisement by Judge Brent Almon in Posey Superior Court. A decision was expected to be handed down at 1:30 p.m. on Monday on that charge.
On July 29, the Posey County Sheriff’s Department investigated altercations which ultimately led to two men being transported to the hospital suffering injuries on July 29. The injuries were alleged to have been inflicted by a knife at the hand of Armstead.
Derrick Demarco Armstead faces sentences in this incident but even more seriously, now faces the possibility of being charged as being a Habitual Offender. Armstead has accumulated at least two (2) prior Felony convictions unrelated to the felonies charged in these Counts. Armstead was convicted of Murder in a Vanderburgh County Court in 1990. That conviction was overturned and on February 12, 1992, he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced on February 27, 1992, in Vanderburgh County Circuit Court, of a felony charge of Voluntary Manslaughter, a Class A Felony, which was committed on or about 1990.
Armstead was convicted and sentenced on April 14, 2009, in the Vanderburgh County Circuit Court, of a Felony charge of Operating a Motor Vehicle while intoxicated on or about December 6, 2008.
Originally, on Monday, July 29, 2013, at approximately 7:56 p.m., Posey County Dispatch Center received a call requesting emergency assistance at Twin Lake Mobile Home Park, in rural southeastern Posey County. First responders arrived at approximately 8:11 p.m., and found the two injured men at a residence on Cougar Drive. The injured men were identified as Chris Bradshaw (age 29) and Larry Bradshaw (age 66).
Following the conclusion of the trial, the jury deliberated less than an hour-and-a-half (including time to eat their lunch) before finding Armstead guilty.
“An interesting twist about this case was that when the defendant was arrested, the police couldn’t shut him up,” Parkhurst relayed. “Deputy Jim Hirsch, was able to turn on his recording device. Then for the next 40 to 45 minutes at the scene and during his drive to the Posey County Jail, he was recorded just cursing and admitted that he stabbed the older victim but for some reason, which I was unable to understand, denied stabbing the second. So for almost an hour, we have a video of him admitting to the stabbing. But he was also claiming that he did so because he was doused in gasoline. But there was no physical evidence whatsoever to back that claim.”
Parkhurst continued to share that after the older of the two men, Larry Bradshaw, 66, had been stabbed, his son Christopher Bradshaw ran down the street to try and help his father, Armstead stopped him and stabbed him twice.
“A neighbor lady was actually able to turn on her cell phone to record a portion of that,” Parkhurst explained. “It was only about 32 seconds of it but it really showed the jury how dangerous this man is and was. You see Armstead swinging at another neighbor who tried to come down to help. He almost became a third victim.”
Parkhurst indicated that Armstead’s defense attorney, Jake Warrum, told the jury that they would see things in the video that no one else testified was there.
“During his closing argument, he literally begged members of the jury to watch the video over and over again,” Parkhurst said. “He told them they were going to know the truth by watching what was in the video. But members of the jury did not ask to see any portion of the video again during deliberations. That just told me that detectives put on a strong enough case that the jury did not see the video. They knew what was the truth.”
Posey County Prosecutor Travis Clowers, Posey County Sheriff Greg Oeth, as well as Parkhurst, indicated that the lead detective on the case was Jeremy Fortune and that he is to be commended for his work on the case. Also. The neighbor who had the presence of mind to tape part of the situation with her phone, is also to be commended.
Information gained at the scene identified Derrick Demarco Armstead (age 41), as the individual who had inflicted the injuries to both men. Investigators believe that Armstead and Chris Bradshaw quarreled in front of Bradshaw’s home after Bradshaw shouted at a car that Armstead was riding in. Bradshaw had made a comment about the speed the vehicle was traveling. Armstead exited the vehicle and verbally engaged the younger Bradshaw. Armstead then walked away.
Shortly after that incident, at another location within the mobile home complex, Armstead confronted Larry Bradshaw, who is a maintenance man at the property. Larry Bradshaw was driving his truck performing maintenance duties, when Armstead approached him and refused to move on. A verbal confrontation ensued and escalated to the point of physical contact when Armstead allegedly brandished a knife and inflected multiple injuries to Bradshaw. It is believed that Chris Bradshaw was able to see this altercation take place from some distance and ran to the aid of his father. He also engaged Armstead physically, and he received numerous knife wounds in that confrontation.
Both victims were able to escape and retreat to Chris Bradshaw’s home and called 911. The Bradshaws were then transported to Deaconess Hospital for treatment. Armstead was arrested at the scene and transported to the Posey County Jail.
Armstead waived his rights to have a jury determine his guilt as a habitual offender. Should Almon rule in favor of the State, Armstead will face an additonal 30-year sentence.